Wednesday, 11 May 2016

My intense love of book signings, and signed books.

A while ago I wrote about my experiences and thoughts on meeting your heroes – or just people you like a whole lot – and the immense excitement/pressure/terror/joy involved in that. This post will be somewhat similar, although more specific. I want to explore the wonder of book signings! 



Ever since I was very, very young and I attended a Jaqueline Wilson event at a local theatre type place, the De La Warr Pavillion, I have been officially obsessed with my books being signed by their authors. I met Jaqueline Wilson after her speeches (plus TV's Tracey Beaker, Dani Harmer!) and she signed my copy of 'The Illustrated Mum' and 'The Dare Game (Tracey Beaker #2)'. I remember being so nervous and so thrilled, seeing this author I so admired at the time scribbling her name in the inside page of my hardback. I still treasure that copy to this day. It's when I realised how amazing it could be to get a book signed.

Nowadays, I frequent book events. I'm that loud chattering idiot in the corner of Daunt Books, or in a front row seat at Waterstones Piccadilly. I love launch parties, author panels, publishers' highlights events, all of it. I get swept away in the bookish excitement – and I always bring books aplenty for potential signings.

I always find it so perfect when an author signs your copy of their brilliant brain offspring with a little message or personal quip. These are a few of my favourite signing experiences in the last few months...



The delightful Chris Russell signed my proof copy of 'Songs About A Girl' (due out in July!) with lyrics – he took the time to chat with me beforehand, saying he liked to get to know folks before he signed anything so he could gauge which lyrics they'd most appreciate written with his signature. I told him I was a die hard Swiftie, and got some lyrics from 'I Knew You Were Trouble' scribbled in above his signature.
Lauren James sent me an annotated copy of 'The Next Together' after we became Twitter besties and she'd generously donated to my Little Princess Trust fundraiser. I will treasure it always. I feel like I possess a sacred item – containing all manner of author secrets! 
At 'The Girl of Ink & Stars' launch party at Daunt Books, the gorgeous Kiran signed my proof copy of her magnificent debut with the cutest phrase: 'with inky and starry wishes'. 



Eve Ainsworth hugged me hard after scribbling in my proof of the beautiful 'Crush'. I think we were both tipsy. 
Sara Barnard paused before signing 'Beautiful Broken Things' and asked if I'd prefer she made it out to Grace or Gracie, and it made me question my identity a few times before I said 'you choose!' 
Lisa Williamson signed my copy of 'The Art of Being Normal' when I was just over halfway through it, saying 'hope you enjoy the rest!' and then writing something sweet wishing me well with my mad health journey. 
Louise O'Neill did something similar, signing 'Only Ever Yours' with 'rocking that headscarf!'
At that Faber event I blogged about before, Alwyn Hamilton wrote the cutest words in my copy of 'Rebel of the Sands'
Jandy Nelson patiently listened (with the whole world shining perfectly in her eyes the entire time, I swear) as I unloaded on her about how much I loved 'I'll Give You The Sun' and how I'd finished 'The Sky Is Everywhere' en route to the signing, and I was madly in love with her writing/her. She then thanked me and I shuffled away, mesmerised. 
David Owen signed 'Panther' some months ago after I bought it at the Young Adult Literature Weekender event in Southbank, adding 'Winchester FTW' as we are both dazzling products of the same super-cool university. 



I like to think if I was an author (/when I become one – positive thinking, Grace!), I'd always make the effort to learn each fan's name and write something unique for each of them in their copies of my book. However, I know that at a lot of book events these days it's so so busy and to save the excited readers an eternity queueing sometimes it's best to just write their name and then yours.
Oh, I'd also have to learn how to maintain a conversation while simultaneously signing things. I cannot write and speak. Well, I can type something on my phone without looking while talking to a pal without any problems, but that's about it.

Authors, advise me please. On that and everything else. Starting with 'how the hell do I make a book?' 

2 comments

  1. This is such a lovely, lovely post! I've never read anything on this subject before and, despite being an avid reader, I've never met any of the authors I adore!

    You can see so clearly through your writing how much you love doing this and how passionate you are as well!

    Such a good post, I'll definitely be following you on Bloglovin' :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, sweetness! You are the loveliest. xo

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